Saturday, December 21, 2013

When you are a newbie in blogging, where to start from & what is important to know

Inbound marketing has gained a lot of attention because it simply can help a company earn attention and create an audience especially when it is done in the right way.

In comparison with outbound marketing, the essence of inbound marketing doesn’t interrupt someone’s flow of activity in order to get attention. There is no pushing to make a specific person become interested in what you are offering to him which usually happens with cold calling, pop-ups, pop-unders, etc. 

Inbound marketing is all about earning attention organically, without interrupting anyone’s activity or workflow.

In order to find your audience on the web you should be well familiar with the family of inbound marketing techniques and strategies:

What's included in inbound marketing

As you can see blogging is also a part of the inbound marketing strategies. 

The purposes to create company blogs and do blogging are to drive more organic traffic to your website, position your brand, increase your SEO, improve your customer relations and attract more of them especially with word-of-mouth advertising.

When you are a newbie in blogging, what is important to know?

1.      Choose a proper platform to manage your content (Content management system):

WordPress is a good choice to create your company blog with.
It is pretty understandable, absolutely manageable for people with no technical background and it's free.
In addition, it has hundreds of themes to choose from and can be customized in the way you want your blog to look like.

Another option for your blog content platform is Blogger
Blogger is also a free platform for managing content. Posts published with Blogger are indexed almost instantaneously. 
Compared to WordPress, Blogger does not provide abundance of ready-to-use templates to choose from. However, the option here is to develop your own template and apply it.

2.      Layout & Design

When you choose the content platform, the second step you should take, is setting up the layout and design of your blog. 
Keep in mind that just publishing an article will not bring quality leads to your company website. What will happen to those leads if the layout of your blog is not set properly?
Take this for granted if you want, but disordered sidebars, archives and blog posts frames will not bring you the result you wish.

Another thing you should consider is that it is necessary to keep your blog alive
Blogs without published articles and posts during the last few months do not make a good impression.

Be active, write as much as you can. There are thousands of topics you can choose from. However, if you want to achieve good results, better write about the problems your customers face and cope with. 
Write about the questions they have especially such kind of questions that your own customers and prospects ask you and your team.

3.      Develop unique style of writing

When your blog layout is already set, you should choose your style of writing and exposing ideas.
In order to attract readers and followers, you have to be original in your writings. Do not create posts just to publish some content.
Instead, get involved in the issue you are writing about. The themes you write about and the posts you publish have to be educational, to give information or to be at least funny. It is important to remember that no one likes to waste time reading something which does not bring value.

4.       Be social

The last newbie step you should take and not at least at all, is to make your company blog social. 
To do that, you should connect your blog with all social media platforms your business is being presented on. Give your readers an option to become your followers by sharing your content on Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. 
Be social, it matters!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Something more to consider about Google AdSense network

It’s not surprisingly to anyone that Google has recently stopped providing the keyword data from organic search. The step Google has made had impact on many companies especially these with smaller marketing budgets. And one of the possible explanations about the motive hidden behind that action could be that Google wants from us to advertise more.

We cannot say that with 100% certainty but still it is a fact that in some cases the percentage of not provided organic keyword data has reached even 100%!

Another thing we can say for sure is that this will affect SEO agencies and marketers. Now their job will be more challenging having in mind that it will be harder to create a content based on a specific group of keywords when it’s impossible to track the results which follow after content marketing.

However, Google still provides keyword data from paid search which is good to know.

Another thing marketers have to consider concerns Google AdSense network
Displaying ads with relevant content on our websites is an opportunity to earn from clicks and impressions. A large number of websites decided to get involved in the AdSense network relying on the fact that this would be also a way to generate leads.

Why is it important to know Google AdSense quite well?

First of all, when you advertise through Google AdWords, Google does not have a fixed price for a particular keyword. Because of the competition, one announces a price and from that point bidding starts. The person who bids the highest price may influence on the amount of traffic his ads receive, as well as the ROI they generate. It is right to think that the campaign you manage in your Google AdWords account is likely to receive more traffic if you make your bids higher but you also will spend more money. 
On the other hand, with lower bids, it is more likely to achieve some improvement in the campaign's ROI but in this way it will also get fewer clicks and conversions.

Another aspect to consider is on which websites your ads appear
Most of the website owners do not have a clue about that. It happens sometimes that an ad from one online shop can be seen on another fully competitive website.

I am giving you here a link from where you can see a random list of websites included in Google AdSense network. The list is created by Built With and it will ask you to create an account in order to have access to the data.

As it starts to seem, advertising on Google is not as simple as we wished to be. If we dig deeper, another question of importance will emerge.

Do we know how many places for ads on one particular website included in AdSense has? 

I do not think so. Therefore, if we have two advertising campaigns to manage at the same time, what guarantees us that our ads do not compete between themselves leading to the surprising idea that actually we are competing with our own budgets?

Possible ways to handle these issues might be:

  •         Based on that, decide whether it is more rational to manage only one campaign for a period of time and then the others, if possible according to the specific case you want to advertise

Advertising on Google AdWords and AdSense requires deeper understanding of how it should be done. As we already described, there a few minor aspects that should be well considered.

The importance to be “fast & furious” in the E-commerce world

Have you ever considered that the interest of a web visitor in the product or service range of an online store or so called prospect interest is extremely short?

Thanks to the abundance of online stores flooding the Internet space or because of any other reason, web visitors, including you and me, are looking at bunches of sources of information before finally making a purchase or even only taking a decision to buy.

Due to the existing multiplicity of effective tools for generating leads and traffic such as advertising campaigns, PR, SEO (SEM), etc., a web visitor lands on your website. He looks through pages providing information about different products and services and if interested, he fills up the contact form and sends his request about a price, delivery, possible discounts and anything else he might be interested in to know.

The worst case would be, if the particular lead closes your website and goes on looking at other competitive websites until he makes his request for more information again.

Few are the cases of today's practice, in which the purchase is done during the first lead’s visit. I do not mean that such situations do not exist. But I do say they occur rarely.

Most of the time, prospects want to educate themselves about the company reputation first, about its attitude towards clients and reliability of the services the company provides. Prospects search for feedback from others who have already bought from the specific online store.

To build strong positive assessment in the minds of potential clients contributes to their belief in the quality of the products and services the company offers. After you achieve to create this impression, then the next step can be taken which again does not include purchasing itself.

Usually a prospect sends his question or request to check if he will be treated with the appropriate attention and care and to see whether what he is searching for will be provided to him in a way that makes him feel content.

How exactly important is it to be fast in our responses? When it comes to E-commerce, is speed the thing that will distinguish us from the big competition game out there?

The time for answering a specific customer question has a great impact on attracting potential customers. The very nature of E-commerce is different from the usual buying and selling process in an ordinary physical store. In the Internet space, there is an access to anything. The possibilities to satisfy needs are endless.

To respond in a similar situation, as they say "in a heartbeat", will only increase the likelihood of attracting visitors and converting them in our customers. If it takes us more time to respond, then it is quite possible to lose the lead to competitors and to forget about this lead’s interest in our products.

According to an online survey made amongst more than 2 000 companies, around 40% of the companies that took part usually respond to a potential customer request within an hour and around 17% of them respond within a day.

However, the survey shows that the average speed of responding was more than 40 hours! What a loss!

Speed ​​is a way to distinguish ourselves from the competitors, especially in today's competitive market, in which each individual customer is vital for the business.

Meeting and satisfying the needs and interests of clients is a point of paramount significance for the key success and development of each company. Rapidresponsiveness and well-timed reaction of the company leave in prospects’ mind a good impression and also increases the probability that this specific prospect will come to decision to buy and at later stage to make a purchase exactly from our online store.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Without Prospect Engagement, You Are Failing!

Customer Insights-Put the puzzle pieces in order

Successful customer engagement means successfully achieving customer trust in the company you manage. When it's done in the right way, it brings credibility in your services or products offered on the market.

Trust should be the highest or at least amongst the highest aims of a company since no one buys a product from an questionable or unreliable source.

Moreover, building strong and long-term trust and credibility in your company through prospect engagement should exist in your business development plan as a high priority for the progress of your company. Just because without, you are simply failing.

Looking back in time, many entrepreneurs say that ignoring the importance of these two aspects, leads to bankruptcy and failure.

Especially when the company is in the very beginning, it is essential to be focused on the ways how to engage well with your customers. How can you promote or sell something when you are not aware of your customers' needs and wishes?

Let me just tell you that it's not possible!

The great use of customer knowledge and data are recognized even better in the first stage of engaging. It's the moment when a visitor lands on your website. It's the first interaction he has with it.

Information from where he comes, what search phrase he has used to find your website is not only important but critical mainly because this is your chance to decide how to engage with him better. Also, it is a chance to see at what stage of the buying cycle he stands and what and how you should present what he is searching for. The right information at the right time.

Therefore, your advantage here is the understanding of the specific interests of the visitors on your website.

Nowadays, there are systems on the market that provide this essential knowledge about visitor insights. 

Sales Intelligence: Recognize the Sales Signals

Customer information is vital for your sales success and engagement. Their names, email addresses, whether they come from an advertising campaign, the keywords typed in the search bar to find your website, what goals they achieve on your site, how much time they spend there and what pages and products they have been looking at - all this can be described as their dossier about the activity they have on your site. If you still doubt this is significant knowledge, better think twice!  

You should be well familiar with your visitors just because this information gives you the power to understand what attracts them most and to lead them in the direction you want.

Being sometimes in the position of a customer, we all buy from someone who knows how to please our wishes. We trust such a salesperson and believe he will find the most suitable product or service we need and search for; we are already opened to him. Then the other part of the sales process is easy.

It is almost impossible to sell services to customers without having a deep understanding of their needs. Gaining valuable and useful knowledge about that in the beginning of the sales process is the key factor to start engaging with them in the most proper way- by communicating with them in a relevant way based on what they've been looking at and what they are interested in to know.

And this leads us to the following statement that:

Without having understanding and knowledge about your visitors from the starting point of the sales funnel, than engaging with them is a tough job to accomplish and you might be failing in building customer trust in your company.

Have in mind also that many of the sources to gather sufficient information to understand customers' behavior better, come from the customer himself. That is the main reason why websites must integrate systems for live conversations with visitors exactly in the same way as if they interact in a physical shop. Relying on live chats, you will find many information about how exactly you can satisfy this specific visitor, engage him and convert him into a loyal customer who buys from your website even after he has made his first purchase.

The obtained data about the consumer insights represents a forceful tiller in your hands. Building trust and credibility in your company goes hand by hand with engaging with your website visitors.

If you use responsibly and properly the knowledge you have about them to satisfy their needs, than engaging even when they are still just anonymous visitors, will be a successful and profitable step towards your company's growth and progress.

Stop Losing Your Marketing PPC Dollars!

Are you afraid of losing money in general? Are you afraid of losing money when it comes to your marketing budget?

Let's speak more specifically concerning PPC campaigns. I am sure that the most common response to the previous sentence which immediately comes up in your mind is: "Where on Earth does my money go?".

Maybe all of us with small exceptions have heard the phrase of John Wanamaker:
"Half my advertising is wasted, I just don't know which half."

With all the analytic tools on the market, maybe we are closer to realize exactly which half is wasted and making some progress, but it's still not possible to say with 100% certainty where our money goes.

Especially now when time flies fast as never before, to afford not to pay enough attention to the ways how to save the money set for advertising on the Internet is crucial.

In this sense, the fear of losing money, I believe, is a good thing. Just because fear makes us think not only how to handle the issues we are facing, but also to avoid them. Which is more essential than the first option, definitely.

Keeping on thinking in the same direction, can you give an optional answer to the following question:

  • How can you prevent your marketing PPC budget from being wasted?

I know that many will say it is hard to diagnose a reasonable response without knowing the exact situation it's regarding. Probably, some of you have a well-organized answer and are pretty sure about it.

However, the most appropriate reply is hidden and we are about to reveal it.

As we all know, many ways to make advertising on the Internet exist, but amongst them the primary way of advertising through PPC campaigns still remains.
Pay-per-click advertising also known as Cost-per-click is an Internet advertising model used to bring quality traffic to your website and it gives you the opportunity to see who lands on your website through clicking on a link, banner or search engine result.

One thing should be kept in mind that a successful PPC campaign goes hand by hand with properly suggested and chosen keyword. This keyword is essential for the performance of the PPC campaign you launch on the Internet and is its basis. The keyword determines the interests of the eventual prospects who click on it and better suits these interests! The keyword brings direct traffic to websites and the traffic is already well-targeted. Therefore, leads who come to your website through a PPC campaign ad are curious or interested in searching for more information about your services or products in the best cases.

  • Where does the problem start?

The problem starts from where you are losing already dollars from your marketing PPC budget.
It might be because of intentionally made fraud clicks or just because a prospect who wants to check what he is searching for again and again keeps constantly opening your website by clicking on the PPC ad. Having in mind also that people are sometimes deceitful in their willing to be successful and number one in general, software bots are already on the market and can absolutely menace and decrease your PPC budget. What happens in the meanwhile is that your budget is being cut every single time when a click on your PPC ad occurs no matter in what way. No matter if the way it happens is profitable for your online business or not.

  • However, a solution does exist!

Prevent your PPC budget from being wasted because of fraud clicks:

  • by finding a way to determine whether a click is a fraud one or not-there is a way to determine that. And the tool is called Fraud Protector. It gives you the essential information about what part of all made clicks for a chosen period of time is fraud.

  • by finding who has made it-in most of the cases, the tool we mentioned above has this functionality. It provides you with information about referral pages visitors come from, keywords used to find the website, etc.

  • by giving him the opportunity to come to your website in a way which saves you money-a pop-up message asking for bookmarking the website could be a nice way to protect in some way your budget.

  • by having the option to ban a specific visitor from coming again-if the above doesn't work, then it is good to have the option to block him from coming again if you see that the only reason this visitor might have to land on your site is to continue cutting off your budget. Of course, we should consider this step very carefully because usually customers or visitors build a habit to find your site by typing its name in the search bar and when your ad appears, to click on it and go on looking at your web site's pages. Which, described in this way, is a good thing to have in mind.

And if all these tasks can be controlled from one place or system in a way you do not have to invest time and do it yourself, it would be just great.

Preventing and trying to save your marketing advertising budget when it comes to PPC campaigns, is not as simple as we wish to be. However, it is still possible to achieve progress and responsibly take care of the dollars we spend over the Internet. No human in the world likes losing money because of any reasons. From the other hand, everyone who starts online business prefers to gain more profit instead the other unwanted alternative.

How to Increase Customer Conversion On Your Website

"Imagining my customer conversion rate dramatically increasing on my website is far more easier than doing it in reality!"

The most common response that comes to mind when facing the challenge of raising the conversion rate of our websites. There are thousands of new, great ideas for launching online businesses born every second but end in a street with no way out. This is a delicate issue which present-day entrepreneurs are experiencing constantly. To increase your conversion rates simply means to be one step closer to succeed in increasing the return on investment of your online business.

If we spend enough time coming up with a solution, we might realize that usually the key to solve a tough and complex issue like this is hidden in small steps that should be taken to overcome it.
The goal you have to accomplish now is to boost the conversion rate of your website!
So how to achieve that?

Unsurprisingly, there is actually one slight aspect of your online business that can help you achieve progress in this direction.

And it's called "Information".

The power of information nowadays represents probably the greatest tool you can use to bring your conversion rate to higher levels. Especially, the power of information obtained at the right time!

What you must do is structure the information your visitors will be interested in consuming in an easy, proper and convenient way to access it. You have to assure yourself that your visitors will be provided with any type of knowledge, data or records they want in order to become more aware of exactly what you are offering and that it will lead them to the final decision.

When you are trying to find a way to accomplish all of this, knowledgebase, live chat and ticket support system come into play.

 "Customers appreciate obtaining the right answer, at the right time."

  • ·   What a knowledge base is used for is organizing questions, inquiries or issues your customers may have or experience supplied with the exact answers and explanations on how to handle them. This is the major reason why you should add it to your website and immediately use it. Do not ever underestimate the opportunity to receive information with just one click! Your customers need this! The information they obtain makes them feel confident in your service or product and confident in their decision to buy from you.  

  •   Ticket support systems or Help Desk and Live Chat are other powerful sources for making your conversion rate higher. You can add them to your website and rely on them any time a visitor has some more specific questions to ask. Imagine yourself looking on a website, searching for some information and a live chat window pops up asking "how can I help you." I bet you would prefer typing your question there than searching for the answer you need in that very moment. Every person would appreciate obtaining the right answer, at the right time.

Having in mind the great influence the information received at the right moment has, applying a Knowledge base, Ticket support system and Live chat on your website will undeniably help you increase your website conversion rate. In turn dramatically increasing your return on investment as well.

Nowadays in the world of online business, the environment keeps changing fast. So, you need to be able to provide your visitors the data they are searching for in order to engage with them better; convert them into customers more easily and also give them the best user experience and satisfaction with the decision they have made to come to your website.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

8 Things Productive People Do During the Workday

Forget about your job title or profession – everyone is looking for ways to be more productive at work. It’s time to set down your gallon-sized container of coffee, toss out your three-page to-do list, and put an end to those ridiculously long emails you’ve been sending.

Experiencing a highly productive workday can feel euphoric. But contrary to popular belief, simply checking tasks off your to-do list isn’t really an indication of productivity. Truly productive people aren’t focused on doing more things; this is actually the opposite of productivity. If you really want to be productive, you’ve got to make a point to do fewer things.

Recently I spoke with project management and productivity genius Tony Wong to find out the secret to a more productive workday. He provided me with some excellent insight into what he and other like-minded productive individuals do during their work week.

Harness your productivity by taking note of these eight things:

1. Create a smaller to-do list. Getting things accomplished during your workday shouldn’t be about doing as much as possible in the sanctioned eight hours. It may be hard to swallow, but there’s nothing productive about piling together a slew of tasks in the form of a checklist. Take a less-is-more approach to your to-do list by only focusing on accomplishing things that matter.

2. Take breaks. You know that ache that fills your brain when you’ve been powering through tasks for several hours? This is due to your brain using up glucose. Too many people mistake this for a good feeling, rather than a signal to take a break. Go take a walk, grab something to eat, workout, or meditate – give your brain some resting time. Achieve more productivity during your workday by making a point to regularly clear your head. You’ll come back recharged and ready to achieve greater efficiency.

3. Follow the 80/20 rule. Did you know that only 20 percent of what you do each day produces 80 percent of your results? Eliminate the things that don’t matter during your workday: they have a minimal effect on your overall productivity. For example, on a project, systematically remove tasks until you end up with the 20 percent that gets the 80 percent of results.

4. Start your day by focusing on yourself. If you begin your morning by checking your email, it allows others to dictate what you accomplish. Set yourself in the right direction by ignoring your emails and taking the morning to focus on yourself, eat a good breakfast, meditate, or read the news.

5. Take on harder tasks earlier in the day. Knock out your most challenging work when your brain is most fresh. Save your busy work – if you have any – for when your afternoon slump rolls in.

6. Pick up the phone. The digital world has created poor communication habits. Email is a productivity killer and usually a distraction from tasks that actually matter. For example, people often copy multiple people on emails to get it off their plate – don't be a victim of this action. This distracts everyone else by creating noise against the tasks they’re trying to accomplish and is a sign of laziness. If you receive an email where many people are CC'd, do everyone a favor by BCCing them on your reply. If your email chain goes beyond two replies, it’s time to pick up the phone. Increase your productivity by scheduling a call.

7. Create a system. If you know certain things are ruining your daily productivity, create a system for managing them. Do you check your emails throughout the day? Plan a morning, afternoon, and evening time slot for managing your email. Otherwise, you’ll get distracted from accomplishing more important goals throughout the day.

8. Don’t confuse productivity with laziness. While no one likes admitting it, sheer laziness is the No. 1 contributor to lost productivity. In fact, a number of time-saving methods – take meetings and emails for example – are actually just ways to get out of doing real work. Place your focus on doing the things that matter most as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Remember, less is more when it comes to being productive during the workday.

What’s your secret to productive workdays?

About Ilya Pozin:
Founder of Ciplex. Columnist for Inc, Forbes & LinkedIn. Gadget lover, investor, mentor, husband, father, and '30 Under 30' entrepreneur. Follow Ilya below to stay up-to-date with his articles and updates!

Live chat support software: The Pros and Cons

More and more websites are offering live chat support these days.

While some of the benefits are clear, others may not be quite as obvious. We have analyzed the pros and cons of live chat support software and compared it to email and phone support.

Advantages of live chat support

  • More competent service: compared to phone support it's easier for your staff to "know all the answers" because they can just quickly ask colleagues if they get a tricky question. The customer won't even notice it.
  • Instant feedback: chat is usually faster than phone support where you usually have to have to go through cumbersome menus. Not to mention email support where nobody even expects an instant answer.
  • Help more people at the same time: chat agents are usually able to serve three or even more people simultaneously.
  • No more problems with strange accents or bad lines
  • Absolutely no extra costs for the website visitor even when they are from another country
  • Convenient: Support can easily send helpful links to the customer through the chat interface and type complicated names into the chat box.
  • Analytics: use live analytics to find the most relevant visitors to…start chats pro-actively, just like the thoughtful salesman in a store you can offer your help.
  • Switch off chat when you are away -- if you’re a one man show, just go offline and transform the chat bar into a contact form. Big advantage over telephone support.
  • Quality of support can easily be reviewed to get a feeling for the support quality your staff is providing, simply by checking the log files.

Disadvantages of live chat support

  • Not all users will like it: users who aren't computer savvy will probably not be too fond of it. You should always offer at least email or phone support in addition to chat support.
  • Not all users will know how to use it: if your websites attracts mainly technophobes or an older generation, live chat may not be what they are looking for. However “Generation Facebook” keeps growing at a fast rate.
  • Not great on mobile platforms: iPhone users who are not able to type at lightning speed won't have much fun using live chat. In addition, not all mobile devices are able to support live chat applications.
  • “Prank chats”: Just like us you will probably get your fair share of not so serious chats. If this happens frequently you can, however, block the person or make email a mandatory field in your pre-chat form, which should reduce this kind of abuse significantly.
  • Chat agent must react in timely fashion: if your support fails to respond quickly the visitor may leave the site frustrated.
  • Interruptions: unlike email live chats cannot wait for a couple of hours before they are replied to.
Read more:

Monday, June 10, 2013

Using Enforcement to Crack Down on ‘Click Fraud’

Posted by Tim Cranton
Associate General Counsel

I’ve led Microsoft’s Internet Safety Enforcement Team for a decade now. In that time, we’ve partnered with government and industry on a variety of preventive, investigative and enforcement efforts to stymie cybercrime and online fraud. As these threats have evolved – growing in complexity and sophistication – so too has our team. We strive to anticipate the next wave of threats to our customers and to Internet users more generally.

Most of my team’s work to date has focused on “classic” cybercrime issues such as child protection, security, malicious code and online fraud. Today, we are expanding that effort to tackle a less traditional but increasingly crucial area for cybercrime enforcement: Click fraud and related threats to the online advertising community.

Earlier today, after a thorough investigation, Microsoft filed a civil lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for Western Washington outlining a massive click fraud scheme believed to have impacted Microsoft’s advertising platform and potentially other networks. The case is Microsoft v. Lam, et. al., case number 09-cv-0815.

Click fraud occurs when a person, automated script or computer program imitates a legitimate Web surfer and clicks on an online ad for the purpose of generating a fraudulent “charge-per-click” without having actual interest in the target of the ad’s link.

In this case, as our complaint alleges, Microsoft gathered substantial evidence that a handful of individuals were likely responsible for these click fraud attacks, which affected online advertisements related to auto insurance and the online role playing game, World of Warcraft.

Once we became aware of the click fraud attacks we quickly took action to address any impact on advertisers and to enhance safeguards to further protect our network. Today’s suit seeks an injunction to help stop this activity and to recover damages.

Consumers and businesses around the world rely on free Internet services and content funded and powered by advertising. Indeed, just last week the Interactive Advertising Bureau released a study that found interactive advertising is responsible for $300 billion of economic activity annually and has created 3.1 million U.S. jobs. Given the sector’s size and strategic importance, it is critically important for the industry to continue working together to help combat fraud against online advertisers and promote a healthy marketplace for online advertising and Internet services to thrive. This marketplace will help fuel technology advancements worldwide and provide a key element in economic recovery and growth in the years ahead.

The vast majority of online advertising activity is legitimate, of course. But like most online activities, there are areas where fraud can be found. The online advertising industry has been making strides in this area for years, implementing technology, best practices and techniques to help address issues such as click fraud. Today’s action is one more step to expand that effort by utilizing the legal system to combat click fraud. Enforcement can play a critical safety role, supplementing technology and industry best practices, by using lawsuits and criminal prosecutions to stop the most egregious violators and hold them accountable for the fraud they commit.

Original post found on

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

How to be a great leader

Being a leader is not about having authority it is about much more than just having a power position. if you want to be a great leader then there are some basic principles to follow. The greatest have all lived by them and have moved the masses. Being a leader is about effectively organizing people. Apply and live by these principles you will be able to effectively organize people.

1. Take time to listen
Listening to what your teams are saying is one thing and it is very important but there is another aspect to listening. Learning to listen to the ambiance of your teams is vitally important. As a leader you need to be able sense the subtle changes in your team members, so you can give them the support needed. If you are not a part of your team then you are isolated and miss the heartbeat. The mood of team members can drastically affect productivity, morale and effectiveness. Be aware of what is not being said aloud so that when something is off beat it can be put on track once again.

2. Trust in yourself
When you are in the leading position your team will need to see that you are sure in your choices. In order to follow people need to see that their leader is able to lead and is sure in him or herself. If you do not trust in yourself, how can anyone else? In the leadership role you will need to roll with the punch and have confidence in your decisions. This needs to be thoroughly expressed in your character, charisma and swag. Being confident in your decisions will allow your teams to feel secure, trust in your direction and allow them the freedom to follow your lead.

3. Motivate, inspire and empower others
The funnest part of being a leader is being able to motivate, inspire and empower your teams to produce. There is nothing better than to develop your team members’ personal power. Constructing a strong team, personally and professionally can have the biggest impact on productivity you can imagine. When people are empowered, inspired and motivated they give their best effort. That is what it is all about. Put focus on your team members personal and professional development, inspire them to be the prominent force in their niches and motivate them to realize their personal and professional goals.

4. Be resilient
As a leader there will be failures now and again, it cannot be avoided! If it were possible to achieve perfect results in every situation then the world would be a perfect place but it is not. Since failures are inevitable the way to take the most from them is to take them as a lesson and be resilient. Be able to bounce back and adopt a solution to issues that come about. As Thomas Edison said “I have not failed! I have just found 100 ways that won’t work.”

Moral of the story, be flexible accept problems as challenges to find a solution. Take away the lessons learned, so the same issues do not arise later down the line.

5. Learn to make the hard decisions
Unfortunately, even as you become part of your team members professional and consequently, their personal lives it is still your task to make the hard decisions. As much as we want to develop great teams of people, life in general affects everyone in its own way and as humans we are not gods and cannot control the winds of change. That being said, it is our job to be in touch with our duties and make the emotional decisions. As a leader you are put into a position that requires you to take choices that impact the lives and integrity of people and the organization. it is important to believe in your choices, weigh the options and move forward with courage, all while maintaining your personal integrity.

6. Take responsibility
People you lead become your responsibility, their productivity and performance are your responsibility. The bottom line is your responsibility too, how do you control all of these aspects of responsibility? You TAKE it as your own. You make it yours and you nurture your people, your organization. You accept responsibility for shortcomings and make the effort to lead in the direction that has the greatest positive impact on the overall sphere. It is not easy, for most but necessary to take the responsibility of your leadership. Too often the bottom line becomes the main goal and this can hurt an organization. Recognize that employees are the driving force behind every company, do not neglect them, take responsibility for your teams.

7. Be well spoken
Speak understandably to your teams, speak to them on a level they can relate. If you cannot be understood or your words are not accepted then you will waste your breath and slow forward progress. Social and emotional intelligence plays a huge part in communicating effectively. You should be aware of the emotional state of your teams, so you can communicate in a way that will move them. Being emotionally conscious will significantly reduce conflicts, misconceptions and can drastically increase performance throughout all areas.

Foster, promote and improve on these principles in your role as a leader. The teams of a great leader will be effective, strong and thorough. Have courage and develop yourself emotionally and your leadership will contribute to a healthy, successful and strong organization.

Monday, June 3, 2013

4 tips that will boost your sales!

The ultimate goal for all companies online and offline is to increase sales and secure their market presence. So how do you grow your client base and secure your market share? it is likely that your company has what your target market needs the problem for you though is that your competitors do too. Here are a 5 timeless and fun tips that will help you increase your sales and consumer base. Whether you sell a product or service these tips will help you raise your sales.

Get some reputable partners:
Your prospects want to know that you can be trusted, that your service is good and that you have something in common with them, aside from solving their problem. This is especially important if you sell a service. What makes you so special? Your prospects need to know this and they don’t need you to tell them either, they need to learn about you from someone else. Partners, promoters or supporters are paramount! Nothing beats good ol’ PR, right. Get good sources interested in your product support their product and they will support yours. You do have a great product or service anyway, right? Then it is time to build some great partnerships with companies that share something in common with your target market!

Just remember, that building up a good network of known companies related to your industry takes time and building strong ties to those partners is worth the time spent.

Build awareness about your service or product:
If no one knows about your office, shop, website, product or service then no one will buy from you unless they happen to stumble upon it one night while randomly surfing the net. If you want to grow and expand your client base build your reputation, expertise and quality over through the internet. Work with reliable sources though or building your reputation can go in the opposite direction than you intend.

Don’t be too self promotional or you will lose credibility. Being too self serving is like going up to a gorgeous woman that has all she needs in the world and saying “I am the best because I know so, you need me.”

Chances are she will laugh and turn away just because you didn't give her any real quality information and that’s not your goal! Is it? Give your target market information that they can use and would be worth taking their time to look further into.

Run some “Keep in touch” campaigns:
It is always nice to get an email from a company that you purchased from or hired to provide you a service. The secret is to keeping 95% unrelated to them buying or using your service again. Keep it friendly and caring, be genuine, say Hello without ulterior motives, except that you want to see how they are coming along. Keeping in touch with previous customers will keep you on the top of their mind, so it is mostly likely that just by keeping in touch they will return to your company the next time they need what you have. Well, that is if they were satisfied and if they were not satisfied, find out why so you can take that feedback into consideration.

Keeping in touch isn't just about recycling those previous customers, keep in mind that their feedback is just as valuable.

Segment your prospects (profiling):
How do you know who wants to buy what? Demographics say so say much about your target market and what is grabbing whose attention that if neglected you are literally taking a knife to your sales and cutting them by a percentage. Which leads to having the right tools available to learn which customers are buying what and why. Who can you target for specific products. Proper analytics and monitoring software is something that if added will give you the insight you need into your consumer base. After you have the software tools you need then you can start segmenting your buyers and tailor your sales messages by profile.

Applying these few tips into your organization, you will easily gain more sales. Timeless and tested, proved and in practice techniques such as these can be found all over the net. It is definitely beneficial to run a few small campaigns, to build partnerships, awareness and of your company. Find the right software to monitor your influx of buyers and segment them into different buying groups then stay in touch with everyone for the sake of caring about them. Start turning your customers into your clients... Clients are way better for business!

Generation 2013: SaaS Companies Connecting The Marketing, Sales and Support Dots For Small and Medium Online Businesses

Small and Medium Businesses (SMB) are searching for the software all the giant’s of the internet such as Liberty Media, Zappos, Amazon and the other sharks already have; standalone solutions to connect all the aspects of the sales funnel. Using Multiple applications for controlling several aspects of the sales funnel has infamously led to productivity and collaboration issues and even issues with information loss. Marketing, sales and support all work in an interconnected and not so complex system. SMB’s are left without room to compete or even get close to the level these market mongers have gained.

However 2013 has brought innovative SaaS companies speaking the language small online entrepreneurs can understand and want to hear. SaaS companies of 2013 are focusing on this issue, knowing SMB’s are limited in choices, if they really even have any. Now SaaS companies are providing complete solutions to manage the sales funnels of websites (multiple websites in fact), giving back the power to compete with the giants and they are doing it at small business prices.

The biggest deciding factor for small businesses and home grown online, future enterprises is the price tag of the options on the market now. Enterprise solutions that don’t fit into the small online entrepreneur’s budget.

Should they suffer because there aren't many options for their level of business? The great thing about software as a service is that quality doesn't have to mean price.

Marketo is another popular but more enterprise focused, niche, SaaS provider that tailored their solution to handle a complete aspect of conducting business online. Their target market needing a software that can analyze, optimize and completely transform the marketing automation end of online businesses.

Unbounce is another that is entering the market with the same mindset and many others are sure to follow the trend. The trend is showing that online companies are looking for these solutions so they can once again control the other aspects of their business, such as their products. As we all know in the business world increased productivity and more efficient ways of handling processes leads to generating higher profits., which created a bespoke software solution that is designed specifically to connect the dots of the entire sales process of websites. It could be said “They created a monster that will consume the market” Their solution incorporates Marketing, Sales and Support features into one cloud based software, just as all the big dogs of the internet have and work with everyday. Except for the important fact that they did this to empower the small and medium, up and comers.

The new generation of SaaS companies are listening to what the market is shouting. It has taken long enough but the revolution towards A-Z Solutions is on the rise. Amazon, Zappos and you other titans better prepare for competition!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Internet Marketing - What kind of marketer are you?

When it comes to marketing the environment changes so frequently it is hard to stay ahead. The common techniques have an almost predictable result if done correctly and in the realm of internet marketing there lots of rules to follow. With Mobile apps, visual and viral marketing now being a must, staying ahead of the digital marketing curve becomes a necessity when designing your marketing strategy. Surely, the competition is going to add these trending techniques into theirs. Really, there is no such thing as being a trend-follower unless you “just” implement what’s trending in internet marketing “now!” 
What is a trend setter, you may wonder, a trendsetter is the marketer who is in touch with his consumer base, he knows what they are interested in, he is the marketer who monitors his consumers steps and then he designs his campaigns to match the majority interest. This marketer is known as the trendsetter because he knows what his consumers want and how to show them they want it. He sets the trend!

Apple marketers are trendsetters, they appeal to their consumers interests and they create campaigns that intrigue them with such things as mobile apps and synchronization. Google is on the same level. These two massively successful companies aren't mentioned because everyone knows them and would love to be as successful. These two giants of media got this way because they monitor, engage and re-market their consumer base. They appeal to their desires and design their marketing strategies to focus on what their clients are hoping to find rather than marketing their product. Now their services, features and products are their marketing outlets.

Many marketers may follow such core principles as “don’t fix what’s not broken” but the results are always limited. You can just about predict that following trends (even with engaging content) will yield a specific percentage of ROI on the campaign.

Following trends works but most get in too late to maximize ROI from what is trending in internet marketing. Call it lack of access to priority information or not. The point is that the trendsetters are the ones who gain maximum profit..... Every time!

How to set the trend? You have to know what the client wants, you have to create that content and then market to it. Accessing your website traffic movement data, in real-time is essential. If you do not know immediately what your consumers are interested in and what not, then your campaign success is limited automatically to a specific outcome.

“Marketing is of course, an ever changing environment and staying ahead of the competitors requires access to prospect data in real-time, so you know what is most interesting in their eyes instantaneously.”

- John Basset
Marketing Director
Deloitte International

The biggest issue is that smaller companies find themselves with a lack of options to have these tools that huge corporations can purchase without a blink. It leaves small and medium companies stuck in a revolving door, which consists of grabbing onto the coattails of successful marketing techniques that start to trend.

The power is imbalanced by budget and lack of integrated solutions for the growing class. Are the tools needed to have the power of marketing manipulation available?... Sure.

Many small and medium businesses have innovative and open leadership pushing them forward. These leaders are consistently and constantly looking for the answers to the questions. One of the most frequent questions asked is “How can I make my business more profitable?”

The answers received vary and some help, some do not. Trendsetters find the answers to their questions from prospects, generation to generation. This used to be done by mailings, then phone surveys took precedence and now phone and online means are used daily.

Are surveys still efficient to learn what your prospects want of you? A trendsetter still uses the old school techniques such as surveys and gathering opinions by phone. The trendsetter is successful though not by this and is successful by watching their prospects in their natural buying process. They have the tools available to guide their prospects and the real-time data needed to market to their prospects intentions.

So where are these amazing profit driving tools available? Until now there was not a place that these tools could be found in one place, in one seamless service that could deliver the information and features within a reasonable price range for the growing class. A solution to your problems can now be found in one easy to use application to give you back the power to become the leader of your industry. You can take the lead and push your company forward in a way you never thought possible.

Do you want to be a trend-follower or a trendsetter? Are you ready to decrease your bounce rate and optimize your conversion rate?